CRESTVIEW — At 5:30 a.m., the kitchen at Sweet Dreams Bakery on Main Street is already busy, and the aroma of freshly baked treats fills the room.
See photos from a morning at the bakery>>
"Everything is scratch-made," owner Kim Young said. "There's no boxes here. The only box is the one you leave with."
Some bakeries use "boxes" of frozen dough and pre-baked cakes instead of mixing their own dough and batter, she said. Customers know the difference.
"I can taste a cake that came from a box," Young said. "Very few people scratch-bake anymore."
For customers like Randy Hilburn, president of Westerra Development, who bought a box of cinnamon rolls Wednesday morning, the extra effort is worth it.
"We're having a small meeting this morning," Hilburn said. "Everybody will like these."
The rolls — Young calls them "sin-namon" rolls because "they're sinfully delicious" — are her customers' favorite pastries. Rivaling them in popularity are her red velvet cupcakes and giant cookies, she said.
Purposeful location and selection
Young said she limits the selection of treats, preparing those that most appeal to her customers' palates.
"We had a few people ask for petits fours and French pastries, but that's not 'Crestview,'" she said.
While Young and the bakers under her watchful eye bustle around the kitchen, her husband, Joe, a Crestview Aerospace engineer, is Sweet Dreams' business mind.
Before coming to Crestview, the couple operated a cottage bakery in Charleston, S.C. Kim Young also ran a delicatessen, but said she has no interest in offering sandwiches or meals that might compete with downtown restaurants.
"People come here for dessert after lunch," she said.
Young searched until she found a downtown location, pouncing on the chance to rent what was a 1920s Goodyear tire store.
"I really wanted to be downtown because I really like that vibe," she said. The bakery opened Sept. 2.
"Over the last seven weeks we've kind of defined our roles, so everybody just comes in and knows what to do," Young said.
As Young's sin-namon rolls rise, Teneka Spates presses out spoonfuls of cookie dough and pops them in the oven.
Meanwhile, Beverly Cyr mixes batter for red velvet cupcakes. As they go into oven space recently vacated by another dozen cookies, Angela Sapp takes over the mixer to make vanilla cake batter.
Sapp — a 2013 Crestview High School alumna who said working at the bakery is her "dream job” — praised the school's culinary arts teacher, Paula Knight.
"She's an amazing teacher," Sapp said. "Her classes helped me a lot for this job."
"I've been very blessed with the ladies I have working here," Young said. "We all get along so well. There's no fussing or bother. We all sing and dance and have fun."
As the morning sun floods the cheerful pink bakery, Young updates her blackboard sandwich sign and sets it out on Main Street. Customers start popping in even before the clock strikes 8.
"I think it's great having a real bakery in town," Corrine Spence said as she and her friends, Sonya Watt and Kim Kelley, eyed goodies that fill the counter and display case.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.